There must be something in the air! Referees just love sending players off at The Racecourse! I don’t know why: perhaps the ground was built on the site of an ancient linesman burial ground. Perhaps referees just like showing off in a big stadium. Whisper it, but it might even be because Conference refs are shocking! But for whatever reason, those loveable little critters just can’t resist sending players off when they come to North Wales.
Here’s the proof: there have been six sendings off in our last five home matches, three for Wrexham, three against (for the record, I’d say four of those were warranted: the FAW disciplinary panel agreed in the case of Louis Moult). Throw in another bad decision three away games ago at Braintree, when Blaine Hudson got a second yellow for a tackle so blatantly clean it sent the ball away at right angles to where the striker was heading, and a match which ends eleven versus eleven is a rarity for us these days! Three of our last eight games have ended with both sides intact: that’s 37.5% fact fans!
Last season both Andy Morrell and Kevin Wilkin rightly said that discipline was an issue which needed to be addressed as we accumulated eight red cards during the whole campaign. We’ve managed six already this season, although I’d say four of them were in the “harsh to ludicrous” category. At least things are balancing out for us this time: last season just four opponents were sent off against us, but eight have already been dismissed this time round!
So, if you fancy a flutter, who are the runners and riders for today’s Red Card Derby?
(All odds correct inside my own head at time of posting. Nobody will pay out on them, including me.)
1-2 Jay Harris Always the bookie’s favourite!
3-1 Louis Moult and Andy Bishop The feisty twosome are beginning to get the taste for red. Moult had only been sent off once in his career before this season; Bishop went four hundred games with one red before last season, but his current form is two in the space of less than fifty games!
4-1 Neil Ashton His last red card was at Stockport in October 2012 for celebrating a goal. You could see by his reaction to the Southport red on Tuesday that he’s feeling very left out!
5-1 Robbie Evans One for the irony fans – first game back after a terrible decision led to his first career red card, and five minutes in the ref sends him off again!
15-1 Dan Holman As Wrexham are playing, he’s enjoying a “Sex in the City” boxset in his Colchester loft conversion. This turns out to be no defence against a Conference ref’s decision to dismiss him for a late tackle. Appeal rejected by FAW.
20-1 Kevin Wilkin Excessive bottle throwing gets the boss his marching orders. I’ve always wanted to use the phrase “marching orders”.
25-1 bar Any Dartford player A seven hour coach journey on a Saturday morning, ten minutes of running around and the the ref sends you off for looking at James Pearson funny. Enjoy the journey home!